Croydon butchers report increase in business after horsemeat scandal
BUTCHERS across Croydon are reporting an upsurge in demand for pure beef, as the horsemeat scandal turns shoppers away from processed meat products.
Traders say the appearance of horsemeat in some budget supermarket burgers and ready meals has reinforced the value of local produce.
Vic Gibson, owner of V A Gibson butchers, in Lower Addiscombe Road, said his business had risen by more than a quarter since the scandal deepened, with last Friday's news that some Findus "beef" lasagnes were made entirely of horsemeat.
He said on Monday: "We did a little bit better at the weekend and a bit better today. I think probably about a 25 to 30 per cent increase since the end of last week.
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"I think it just highlights the fact that the bigger the company, the less you can trust it. We know what we are bringing in and we know what we sell."
Kenneth Bashford, manager of D C Tann butchers, in Sanderstead, also reported a surge of new customers over the weekend.
He said: "Some of them are really concerned about the scandal and say local produce is the reason why they come to local butchers.
"All our meat is totally traceable – we practically know all the animals' names."
The scandal erupted on January 16 with the news that burgers with as much as 29 per cent horse meat had been supplied to supermarkets including Tesco, Lidl and Aldi.
Equine DNA was then found among some meat supplies, and last Friday, the Food Standards Authority revealed some Findus UK beef lasagnes contained up to 100 per cent horsemeat.
The authority warned of "criminal activity" behind meat substitutions along supply chains spanning Europe, and ordered food companies to test their beef products by today (Friday).
But this isn't something local butchers have to worry about.
Tony Bosher, manager of Meat Express butchers in New Addington, said: "We do everything on site so we know exactly what is in it.
"We are getting a lot of questions [about the scandal] at the moment. I think over the next couple of weeks it will really take off."
Karl Luker, at Martyn James butchers, in Coulsdon, added: "All our meat comes from a farm in Tunbridge Wells; we know where it comes from and how it has been looked after.
"We have a lot of people here who will tell their friends to come down to us, because we have the best meat in the area."
The town's restaurants are equally keen to stress their dishes are 100 per cent beef.
Gio Gonzalez, owner of Las Fuentes in Purley, told the Advertiser: "Telling people something is beef and it not being beef is an absolute scandal.
"Our beef in our skewers, the fillet steak and the lamb in our kebabs, we buy it all fresh, there's absolutely no horsemeat here. Fresh lamb legs, fresh cutlets.
"We can prove it, we get all our meat fresh from Smithfield Market in London.
"There, you know what you're buying."